Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen

Mapping the Bones

The year is 1942, and Chaim and Gittel, Polish twins, are forced from their beautiful home and made to live in the Lodz Ghetto. Their family's cramped quarters are awful, but when even those dire circumstances become too dangerous, their parents decide to make for the nearby Lagiewniki Forest, where partisan fighters are trying to shepherd Jews to freedom in Russia. The partisans take Chaim and Gittel, with promises that their parents will catch ...

Details Mapping the Bones

TitleMapping the Bones
Release DateMar 6th, 2018
PublisherPhilomel Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, World War II, Holocaust, War, Fiction

Reviews Mapping the Bones

  • Kalena W
    10/5 stars, this book was phenomenal. I had a theory about this book that ultimately didn't come to happen and I am so happy. This book still had a great ending though. I love how this book was loosely based on Hansel & Gretel but still was in WWll. If you didn't look closely, or even didn't read in between the lines, you would miss the references to Hansel & Gretel. This book was still based upon and in WWll so it was a nice idea. Then this book...
  • Alicia
    This meaty WWII story that is a retelling of the Hansel and Gretel tale with Chaim and Gittel, twins who are taken to the labor camps in 1942 and the horrific abuse they endured especially being young twins at the hands of an evil doctor. The beauty of the book is Chaim's poetry and their familial and deeply-felt connection to one another, while also using chapters every so often for reflection by Gittel about those times that adds a layer of bea...
  • Suz Thackston
    Oof. This was a tough read. I love Jane Yolen and was excited to get this copy (signed by the author) but it's no fairy tale.Not that any Holocaust book should be.It's beautifully written, in simple prose that puts you right there, with the protagonists. It's not melodramatic or heart-tuggy and it doesn't wallow in the ghastliness.But it doesn't spare you either.I'm glad I read it, and I'm glad it's over.
  • Lara
    This is a good book, but not an easy one. Just remember, when you're blinking back tears in parts--this is "Hansel and Gretel". Gretel will always shove the witch into the oven.
  • Katie
    3.5Not as good as The Devil's Arithmetic, but what is? I DID like that this was about the overall experience about the Holocaust, not solely set in a concentration camp.The Hansel and Gretel parallels didn't work. Mostly I was just confused when they started talking about houses made of candy.
  • Erikka
    Two children live in a small house with their parents. They find themselves in a dark and foreboding woods, lost and cold. One day, they stumble upon a house of candy, filled with promises...and danger. "Hansel and Gretel" takes on a new spin in this third phenomenal and heartbreaking book about the Holocaust from master storyteller Jane Yolen. We traveled through time with "The Devil's Arithmetic", awakened Sleeping Beauty in "Briar Rose", and n...
  • Teenreadsdotcom
    Early in their journey trying to escape the fearful Nazis, Chaim and his twin, Gittel, are separated from their parents. They don’t know what has happened to them, but they do know that now they must go on without them. Something has gone terribly wrong. They travel with Sophie and her brother Bruno who are close in ages to the twins. Sophie and Bruno, along with their parents, had been living with Chaim’s family. Now they try to follow the c...
  • Ann Dague
    Not my favorite Yolen novel, but still interesting. I really liked how the novel told the story, but also had little excepts from one of the main characters looking back on events as an adult. It gave a little relief knowing that at least one of the main characters was going to survive the tragic events unfolding. There are so many exceptional novels about WWII, that this book would not be at the top of my list to recommend. Based on a variety of...
  • Ms. Yingling
    Love Yolen, need more Holocaust books, but this one was just a bit too long for my collection. May recommend that the one or two readers a year who are avid Holocaust book readers get it from the public library, but I don't think I will purchase for my middle school library.Beautifully written, compelling story, but just not what I need right now.
  • Martha Schwalbe
    Is it coincidental that I am reading and hearing so much about Polish Resistance fighters during WWII? I knew about the German resistance fighters but not so much about the Polish fighters. This past year I've read books, papers, and heard lectures on the topic of these fighters.The story in Mapping the Bones kept me reading and feeling depressed when the bad things happened, yet a book about the Holocaust needs the bad things so they weren't une...
  • Eleonor
    Jag kan inte sluta gråta. Trots helt fiktiv känns den så brutalt verklig. De är svårlästa, dessa böcker om Förintelsen. Men så länge jag lever kommer jag fortsätta läsa dem. Det är det minsta jag kan göra för alla liv förlorade. עם ישראל חי ❤ Jag kan inte sluta gråta. Trots helt fiktiv känns den så brutalt verklig. De är svårlästa, dessa böcker om Förintelsen. Men så länge jag lever kommer jag fortsätta lä...
  • Anna
    Won from a Goodreads' giveawayThe characters may be fictional, but the events this heart wrenching story are based on are anything but fictional.Mapping the Bones follows a teenage boy Chaim, and his twin sister Gittel, after the Nazis have forced them from their home into a Jewish ghetto. From a tiny ghetto apartment, to forests, then eventually to a concentration camp, the twins find their family broken apart and their definition of normalcy fr...
  • Collette
    Remembering how much I loved "The Devil's Arithmetic" as a young girl, it is no surprise that I was taken by Jane Yolen's latest. From the moment I picked up "Mapping the Bones", I was immersed in a well-layered tale of loss, struggle, hope, humanity, and the unshakable bond of family and community. It is a tale that shifts between two characters, Chaim and Gittel --young Jewish twins living in Poland during the Holocaust. Their story parallels t...
  • Lois R. Gross
    "Sometimes I'm asked "Is it true"? And then they add, "How can it possibly be true? None of you wrote it down at the time." As if no one is ever brutalized in a war. As if the Nazis handed us a pen and paper to take notes. As if the photographs of the ovens and the chimneys, the few stick-figure survivors, the skeletal remains in mass graves aren't true enough. As if we who were witness falsified our memories."This is not the first time that Jane...
  • Amy
    Many thanks to Edelweiss and Penguin Random House for an advanced Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.I was drawn to this tale of two children (Gittel and Chaim) during the Holocaust for a few reasons. 1-All of my students INHALE Holocaust books, so I like to keep a look out for new ones.2-Jane Yolen is an acclaimed author and highly recognizable in this style/genre, so I had high expectations.I was not disappointed. I have already ...
  • -Vincie-W-
    3.5 stars // This is my second book this week about young Jews fighting to survive during WWII. And I must say, Mapping the Bones is soooo much better than Orphan Monster Spy . Reasons:1) Chaim and Gittel (aka Hansel and Gretel). These twins complete each other: Gittel is Chaim's voice and strength; Chaim is Gittel's conscience and hope. You will have no trouble falling in love with their tender, effortless dynamic. “Someday we will remembe...
  • Colleen
    Historical fiction (WWII) set to the German fairy tale and of Hansel and Gretal. Twins, Chaim and Gittel, are jews that live in the Polish Ghetto in 1942. They share a small apartment with their parents and a doctor and his wife and two children, Bruno and Sophie. When the time comes and they need to flee lest they get put on the trains, the children are separated from the adults, taken hostage, and put to work in a labor camp. The story moves sl...
  • Diana Thomsen
    I'll be up-front about this. I don't read books about the Holocaust. Or about war. I don't like them. They make me sick. I end up depressed and angry that people can be so horrible to each other.So when this book showed up on my request list and I realized what it was, I was confused. Why did I even request this one? Well, it turns out that I requested it because the blurb said Hansel and Gretel (and I'm ALWAYS up for a fairy tale retelling!) and...
  • Carrie
    Can I just say, what a nice touch at the end by Jane Yolen (I mean, what a nice ENTIRE BOOK by Jane Yolen, but this was a garnish) to write Gittel as a lesbian and have her adopt kids. Not an ever-present theme (is it even mentioned more than once or twice?) throughout the book, but I love the brief touch at the end. Just makes this book even better than I already thought it was. The auhor’s note is really great at the end, too. From my prior k...
  • Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
    Yolen, Jane Mapping the Bones, 432 pages. Philomel, 2018. $18. Language: PG (20 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13 (Nazi brutality).Gittel and her twin brother Chaim are living a poor but loving existence in a Jewish ghetto when another family of four is forced into sharing their meager rooms. As the Nazi controls tighten, and the new father disappears, their parents lead all of them out into the woods and send the children of...
  • Reba
    This book had a clever premise, to use the folk tale of Hansel and Gretel to tell the story of 2 Jewish children, Chaim and Gittel. Chaim and Gittel were wonderful characters, but the folk tale device didn't always work. The depictions of what life was like for Polish Jewish children in WWII was stark, brutal, and essential. As a collective, we like to think that we would never stand by and watch people be treated this way again. That we would de...
  • Liz Friend
    The story: life just keeps getting worse for Gittel and Chaim: first they’re moved from their home in Poland to the ghetto in Łódź; then, trying to escape, they’re separated from their parents and sent to a Nazi work camp, where they’re forced to work building munitions for the Nazi war machine. Life is hard, their coworkers die, and without a little bit of luck...Gittel and Chaim will be next. Can they keep Death at bay long enough for ...
  • Sarah
    I received this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Told from dual perspectives, siblings, Chaim and Gittel, this is a historical retell of Hansel and Grettel with the backdrop of the Holocaust. Chaim and his family are living in a Jewish ghetto, barely getting by, like many of their neighbors. Shortly after they are forced to live with a family of strangers, word begins to spread through the ghetto that families will be sent to t...
  • Rebecca
    Stark, bleak, and sometimes moving. This book is powerful, but not always moving. The writing sometimes got in the way. Yolen's writing was inconsistent. Sometimes the story moved quickly, other times the writing was very dry. The last 130 pages moved very quickly, but the ending was abrupt. I loved Gittle's memory sections. Those were the most powerfully written moments. The sections with the doctor were horrifying and powerful. The other sectio...
  • Moon_Sparrow
    I love what this book does. The plot was amazing and historically accurate. The characters were lovable-yes even Bruno-and so well written. The characters and their struggles were also believable. Chaim was the best!!The correlation between this novel and the story Hansel and Gretel was. Really good and I didn’t even notice it until they went to the House of Candy. Speaking of which the doctor was evil!! And to find out that those kinds of expe...
  • Shannon
    I waffled between giving this book 3 or 4 stars. It's very well written with clearly defined characters, but I had some issues with it. In a genre that seems to be soon overstuffed with similar books, a WWII story really needs to stand out. I'm not sure this one really does. The Hansel and Grettle allegory doesn't work for me. In the author's note at the end Jane Yolen tries to explain how her book fits the fairy tale, but it just seems like a st...
  • Jennifer Hill
    Loved the story told in 2 voices, however I think it could be confusing to some kids reading it. I do think it was a little slow at the beginning, but once they left the ghetto the story picked up. I thought the allusion to Hansel and Gretel was perfect for this story. The characters are fully developed and I rooted for them all, except Bruno, but even he turned out okay in the end. I kept expecting the parents to be reunited. I was not able to p...
  • Kathy
    Twins Gittle and near-silent Chaim escape the Lodz ghetto in Poland in 1942, hiding first in a forest with Polish partisans only to be sold to a work camp where their twinship makes them subject to the experimentation of a mad doctor. Masterful use of fairy tale motifs that enhance the horror. Based loosely on the Hansel and Gretel story framework, this makes use of the Grimmest of fairy tale details but also lauds the role of Chaim's poetry in h...
  • Maddie Russell
    Narrated by Chaim, a quiet boy who finds solace in poetry, "Mapping the Bones" follows Polish twins, Chaim and Gittel, through life in the ghetto, a perilous escape into the surrounding forests and flight toward the Soviet border guided by partisans that ends in capture by the Nazis. Placed in a work camp, the twins are surrounded by a group of young people determined to survive the harsh conditions and illnesses that sweep through the camp. A do...